June 28, 2015

Only Two Ways – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of  the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1:6)

“Mainstream” thinking today tells us over and over that there are many different roads that all eventually lead to heaven. This is very comforting, especially to those whose lives are not ordered by God’s word, but the reassurance is deceitful. God reveals a very different picture.

The word in the above passage translated “way” (derek) is defined by The Theological Wordbook Of The Old Testament to mean…

“Way, road, journey,… Related to the verb “to tread, trample”; hence, it refers first to a path worn by constant walking.”

The Psalmist reveals that there is a singular road or path of righteousness, known by God. The alternative leads to hell.

This word is often used in Scripture, but its first occurrence is in Genesis 3:24.

So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”

Once expelled from the garden of Eden because of their rebellion, Adam and Eve no longer could travel that “way” of life and began to die.

The equivalent Greek word in the New Testament is (hodos) also meaning “road,” and it, too, occurs quite frequently.

“…an established ‘way’ or ‘course’ …1. a way for traveling or moving from one place to another, way, road, highway” (BDAG)

Its literal meaning—that of an actual roadway—lends itself very easily to the figure of a style of life whose practice leads inevitably to a certain destiny. King David is teaching us that there are two basic ways of looking at life—the God-centered viewpoint and the man-centered viewpoint. There are only two ways of life, the way of the godly and the way of the ungodly. The one leads to life; the other to death. There is no other way.

Jesus taught a very similar lesson in Matthew 7:13-14. He revealed that there were just two ways, leading to two very different destinations. He warned that we must follow the unpopular way of the few to gain eternal life and that the way of “everybody” leads to hell.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Solomon likewise admonished…

“There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 12:12)

How often we hear, “This way feels right. It suits me.” The Holy Spirit reveals that the wisest man taught, this is the way to hell.

Isaiah instructed Israel with the same concept. He said whenever you want to do it your way (any way to the right or to the left of the way) a good teacher will speak up and say this is “the way,” not because he is bigoted or narrow-minded, but because he respects truth.

“…your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:20-21)

But what is the way that David calls the “way of the righteous,” which leads to life?

The simple answer is revealed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. ‘If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.’” (John 14:6-7)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

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June 21, 2015

The First Commandment – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)

This is the first of the ten commandments, written by the finger of God Himself and delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai.

“When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.” (Exodus 31:18)

The first copy was broken when the people grew tired of waiting for Moses, went back to idolatry (actually self-serving, self-indulgence).

God wrote again.

“Now the LORD said to Moses, “Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.” (Exodus 34:1)

God Himself begins His very special list of commandments with what Jesus summarizes as the first and the foremost commandment.

Analysis of the words used in the original Hebrew can be, and often is, over done. However, this very significant phrase appears to be expressed with thought provoking choice of words.

You shall have no…” is rendered from the Hebrew word (lo), which is an emphatic negative. The Theological Wordbook Of The Old Testament says of this word,

“…negates factual statements in all time frameworks. It serves to negate omnitemporal, general statements. …used in an emphatic negative command

The word translated “other” translates the Hebrew word (acher), which is derived from another word meaning “behind” or “less.” Brown, Driver, Briggs defines:

remain behind…one coming behind) Often with the collat. sense of different, …other garments; with that of strange, alien…

The Holy Spirit’s most intriguing choice of words is the phrase translated “before me,” (‘al paniym), at the end of the sentence. That phrase literally means “against the faces” or in the sense of “on top of.” So, a direct translation of the command would be, “Never place a less powerful being on top of my faces.” It can also be rendered, “Don’t ever let any other god get between your face and my face.”

How?

At various times and circumstances Moses gave specific instructions about how to carry out this principal commandment.

for you shall not worship [“bow down”] any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God -”  (Exodus 34:14)

“…do not mention [“call to memory”] the name of other gods, nor let them be heard  from your mouth.” (Exodus 23:13)

“You shall not follow [walk behind] other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 6:14-15)

“But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. “It shall come about if you ever forget [mislay, be oblivious of] the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish.” (Deuteronomy 8:18-19)

“Beware that your hearts are not deceived [“be open-minded… simple…enticed”], and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.” (Deuteronomy 11:16)

“and do not turn aside [out of one’s course, from following] from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” (Deuteronomy 28:14)

When a lawyer asked Jesus what was the great commandment, He responded with the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

“Listen, Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! [As opposed to idols] You must love the LORD your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength.” NET

Albert Barnes, in his commentary, summarizes the meaning well.

“The meaning of this is, thou shalt love him with all thy faculties or powers. Thou shalt love him supremely, more than all other beings and things, and with all the ardour possible. To love him with all the heart is to fix the affections supremely on him, more strongly than on anything else, and to be willing to give up all that we hold dear at his command. …means, to be willing to give up the life to him, and to devote it all to his service; to live to him, and to be willing to die at his command. ….To submit the intellect to his will. To love his law and gospel more than we do the decisions of our own minds. To be willing to submit all our faculties to his teaching and guidance, and to devote to him all our intellectual attainments, and all the results of our intellectual efforts. With all the faculties of soul and body. To labour and toil for his glory, and to make that the great object of all our efforts.”

June 14, 2015

Heart Not Wholly Devoted To The Lord – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. …his wives turned his heart away. 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been…. Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel,…” (I Kings 11:1-4, 9)

I have known preachers whose wives tempted their husbands toward worldly acclaim and destroyed their influence for the cause of Christ. I have known other preachers whose wives were a great encouragement and multiplied their influence for good. From the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden, to the time of Solomon, all the way to day, we see examples that demonstrate the need to make sure those closest to our hearts will strengthen, influence us toward Heaven and help insulate us from the world.

We Must Guard Our Heart

Earlier in his life, Solomon admonished, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life,” (Proverbs 14:23)  The Hebrew word for “watch” is defined by Brown, Driver Briggs:

“1. Watch, guard, keep,….2. Guard from dangers, preserve,…3. Guard with fidelity, keep, observe.” The word is used 10 times in Psalm 119, demanding a careful “watch” of our obedience and use of the Word of God. God makes a promise to those who follow this advice: “How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.” (Psalm 119:2)

We Must Store Treasure In Our Heart

David understood that the heart was a storehouse of strength and that we are responsible for putting the powerful word in it, rather than the Devil’s propaganda. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” (Psalms 119:11)

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for trying to teach the pure Word of God when the treasury of their heart was contaminated. Jesus says this doesn’t work. Careless words reveal the heart, therefore we are held accountable. Be careful what you allow in your storehouse.

“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good?  For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. ‘But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. ‘For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.’” (Matthew 12:34-37).

Others Will Try to Turn Your Heart

Jeroboam (I Kings 11-12) led Israel in rebellion against the unwise choices of Solomon’s son, dividing the Kingdom of Israel. He introduced competing worship practices, similar to, but different from what God authorized. His worship was that which he “devised of his own heart” (I Kings 12:33). By such conduct he “made Israel to sin” (I Kings 15:34), a phrase repeated over and over, whenever Jeroboam’s life is recalled.

Recall that Peter warns: “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,” (II Peter 3:17).

Let us determine to guard our hearts, “For from it flow the springs of life,” (Proverbs 14:23).

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris